HOMEMADE Zenzai (Japanese Red Bean Soup with Rice Cake) and Oshogatsu 2011 (Japanese New Year)

HOMEMADE Zenzai (Japanese Red Bean Soup with Rice Cake) and Oshogatsu 2011 (Japanese New Year)

Does anyone know how long the terrible-two’s last? Is it one year? Is it two years? Two and a half years? Over the weekend, Bebe E found a black ballpoint pen and drew a nice long dark squiggly line down the entire length of one cushion of our sofa. Nice, huh? And technically, she’s not even two yet. Scary. Of course, we have “coloring time” where Bebe E opens her little box filled with washable crayons and magical...

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INSTANT Shiratama Zenzai (Japanese Sweet Red Bean Soup with Mini Mochi Pillows)

INSTANT Shiratama Zenzai (Japanese Sweet Red Bean Soup with Mini Mochi Pillows)

    I’m always willing to try shortcuts once. My Mom makes shiratama zenzai from scratch (see Homemade Zenzai recipe here) and will use store-bought fresh made mochi as a short-cut, but she’ll never use canned ogura-an and Mochiko (for instant mochi, although I believe there is also shiratamako which I have not yet come across) to make shiratama zenzai. Although Mom always knows best, I had to see for myself whether I could get...

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Pumpkin Mochi

Pumpkin Mochi

  I couldn’t resist! I had to make something gold, Lakers Gold that is, for the Lakers vs. Rockets season opening game. I’ve had nothing but pumpkins on my mind and to me, any shade of gold (yes, goldish-orangish-pumpkin-brown is close enough to Lakers gold in my book) is cause for celebrating opening night. I’ve always had a love for pumpkin desserts. My first and most memorable experience with pumpkin is unsurprisingly...

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Okinawa Dango, an Obon Festival Favorite

Okinawa Dango, an Obon Festival Favorite

  As a Japanese-American child growing-up in Los Angeles, I was fortunate to be a part of a local Japanese community which provided the opportunity to experience a number of wonderful cultural traditions. My favorite summer-time tradition was, and still is, attending Obon. Long ago when I asked my mom about the meaning of Obon, she told me that it was a time during which we remembered and honored our family members that have passed on. In our...

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Kurogoma Aisukurimu (Black Sesame Ice Cream)

Kurogoma Aisukurimu (Black Sesame Ice Cream)

Did you know that in Japanese, ice cream is known as “ice cream” or more accurately, “aisukurimu”? It’s ice cream pronounced with a Japanese accent, “eye-sue-coo-reem-mu”. Does this mean that black sesame ice cream in Japanese could potentially be, “boo-lack-oo say-sah-me eye-sue-coo-reem-mu”? At this point, I’m fairly certain my bilingual English-Japanese friends who are reading this...

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Ohagi (Sweet Rice Mochi) & Kodomo No Hi 2010 (Japanese Childrens & Boys Day)

Ohagi (Sweet Rice Mochi) & Kodomo No Hi 2010 (Japanese Childrens & Boys Day)

Happy Boy’s Day!  Er, excuse me… allow me to politically correct  myself – Happy Children’s Day! Although May 5th is widely known as Cinco de Mayo for many across the world, the fifth day of the fifth month is also known as kodomonohi or Boy’s Day in our family. May 5th, or Boy’s Day was originally known in Japan as “Tango no Sekku“, or Boy’s Festival, to celebrate the healthy growth and...

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Tsubuan (Sweet Red Bean Paste)

Tsubuan (Sweet Red Bean Paste)

      My tastes  have certainly changed as I’ve matured. In my youth, I never cared for anko, which is a broad Japanese term for sweet azuki bean paste. I shied away from anything that contained anko. It’s only in the last 10 years that I’ve begun to appreciate the taste and versatility of azuki beans. (Photo Credit: Hideki Ueha) From what I understand, there are three general types of anko which I have learned about:...

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Sakura Mochi (Sweet Rice) & Hinamatsuri (Japanese Girls Day) 2010

Sakura Mochi (Sweet Rice) & Hinamatsuri (Japanese Girls Day) 2010

For Bebe E’s first Hinamatsuri I decided to make Sakura Mochi for dessert.  This is a traditional Japanese confectionery or wagashi that is traditionally eaten on Hinamatsuri. This was my first attempt at making mochi (rice cake).  As a teen I used to help out every December at our temple’s mochitsuki (mochi pounding ceremony),  but I was only responsible for shaping the mochi into little round patties.  That wasn’t...

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